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Looking for ideas on a 50x100 space

 
Peter Hartman
Posts: 171
Location: springfield, MO
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I am working on designing a small food forest on the north east edge of my property. Here are a few pictures of the space I am dealing with:


The space I am referring to is on the right on this picture. The big puddle will be the driveway up to the house. This picture was taken after about 2 inches of rain. When we get this much rain there is some run off from the 3 acres to my south (or left in this picture).


Here is another view. The space is basically between the honey suckle on the the north fence and the cedar tree on the east fence. the drive will be the south border.


This is sowing part of the field to the south that generates the water and the path it takes through my property.

This is my first mock up of the space and some of the trees I had in mind. I have not added any of my understory in this yet. If any one has opinions on this or wants to change it completely feel free to suggest. I am also wondering if there should be any earthworks done before hand. I have access to the track loader and a backhoe.

North is up and south is down. (sorry for the spelling mistakes)
 
Tim Burrows
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If I were you, I would try swaleing the land on contour and making a pond like sepp holzer does. If you don't want water storage on the property then I would terrace everything on contour and build hugelkultur beds near the house for veggies. The tree layout map looks good. Don't forget about the understories of the food forest get at least 7 layers in there!
 
Peter Hartman
Posts: 171
Location: springfield, MO
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For now I am just concerned with this space in the north east corner for now. I just don't have time to do this all at once. Would a small swale be appropriate in this space? The soil is pretty good in this spot. It is strangely rock (or stone depending on where you are from) free compared to the rest of the property and MO in general. There is about 3ft of top soil on top of clay.

Here is another view of the area:
 
Tim Burrows
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I think swales are always good no matter what the soil type. My understanding is to slow down the rain water and let it soak into the land, rather then run off the top taking nutrients. Highest point in the landscape would be best to start with as the water will naturally flow down hill to the rest.
 
Peter Hartman
Posts: 171
Location: springfield, MO
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How well do swales work where there is active lavestock? I plan to keep 1-2 acres as pasture.
 
Tim Burrows
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well swales are really more to channel water towards a dam, I would say without the pond i would perhaps just try to terrace everything because I think all plants grow better that way. It will still slow the water down and hold it in the landscape. sepp holzer would say then you don't need to irrigate or fertilize. Once the terraceing is done it stays done.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Swales are usually used to capture and hold moisture in the land, unless they are diversion swales or backflooding swales, which are used to fill dams.

http://permaculturenews.org/2012/05/16/swales-the-permaculture-element-that-really-holds-water/

I would include a swale in your food forest design, personally.

 
Peter Hartman
Posts: 171
Location: springfield, MO
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Alright, I will add a 1-2 swale in the fruit forest.
 
Tom Davis
Posts: 156
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Your second picture looks like it has a puddle in the middle of the grass.
This might be a good pond/infiltration basin/crater garden site.
I like the mantra of "water, access, structures." It appears you are working in the reverse of this, and that's fine too.
Water is your most valuable resource, as Sepp says, if you get this part of the design right, 70% of your work is done (this is a paraphrase).
I would consider rough plans for the whole site, knowing they will likely change as overall conditions improve and your knowledge grows.
This may guide you on where to focus your energies.
I would survey the land on 5' or 10' intervals and work from what this tells you.
Let the land guide you.
Find the highest boundary, on that high boundary, find the lowest contour line. This will likely be your longest contour line. This can be a good place to focus and grow your plans from.
It looks like you have huge water harvesting abilities with that pole barn and maybe your house roof if it isn't composite shingles. I would want to incorporate that into any systems development.
How long have you observed the properties characteristics?
Start small and grow.
Hand dig a small swale on contour?
Hand dig and seal a small pond with the clay you have -- maybe 10' wide or 5' wide.
It's great to have a forest idea, but I would focus on water first since this will make your forest (and everything else) awesome!
Have a garden outside your kitchen.
 
Peter Hartman
Posts: 171
Location: springfield, MO
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I have been working on a map of the whole area.

Here is a drawing I did about a month ago:

 
Peter Hartman
Posts: 171
Location: springfield, MO
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Here is my blank slate if any one else wants to take a stab at this.

 
Tom Davis
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That's great -- it is a good starting point.
I feel, based on experience, it is impossible to plan further without contours.
Bunyip Level, A-Frame, Laser, Transit choose one of these.
That would be my next move.
 
Peter Hartman
Posts: 171
Location: springfield, MO
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I had never heard of a Bunyip level. Thanks! I have an old transit I have only used it minimally though for staking the house.
 
Tom Davis
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webpage
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNnFknvSaMc
Here's how they work, easy and great for the lazy in all of us.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Also your driveway and roof are water harvesting structures. I'd tie them into your water management system.

A common approach for integrating pasture into soil is to have a swale-tree row on contour, and divide your pasture into long narrow contour strips between swale-tree rows with animal walkway along one side, (essentially the agroforestry practice of alley cropping).

With 2 inch rainstorms, I bet you'd benefit from swales even with good soil percolation.

And... That lot isn't too big. I'd find some advice about how many animals you can keep there without sacrificing soil health. If you are thinking of a sacrifice yard, that would produce more runoff.
 
Peter Hartman
Posts: 171
Location: springfield, MO
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My goal is to have 2 breeding ewes and 1 ram. I may have brief access to 1 more acre of pasture during the growing season. Currently I will have 1.5 to 2 acres of pasture.
 
Linda Sefcik
Posts: 72
Location: Central Oklahoma
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(see drawing below)

Ha -- this was fun
I'm new to permaculture, but I liked a challenge. Here's my two cents.

The terraces weave at a slow slope, slowly downward, alternating directions
to slow rainfall but not to catch all of it
Hazel nut and chestnut are good animal food; hazel bushes at all open fenced areas
the hazel branches can be woven to each other into a deer fence,
or coppiced, using the sticks to attach to your fence at intervals to add height
half of the hazel would be on the other side of the fence for their winter food
The rose arbor over the driveway entrace would discourage jumping over your gate
The thorned berries would discourage deer on the other fence, yet give half for food
The grape arbor would shade an outdoor patio/work area (leaves and fruit for food)
The monk fruit would be a shade for a porch swing (best sweetener instead of sugar)
The mimosa and fruit trees would catch the southern breeze to your house for fragrance
Pecans are easily edible nuts to store for your own winter nutrition
Cherries -- juiced then dried
Sugar cane / bamboo / onions / willows in a wet area
Pine trees for fuel and other purposes (no evergreens)
Cottonwood for late afternoon shade
Other fruit trees provide shade for your animals

As for raccoons and other foraging animals -- maybe a big dog ??
Well, it was a good exercise for me, and was fun.
Good luck with your new farm.

This is from some notes I made:

Hazel nut bushes/trees
-- one of america's original species everywhere
-- lifespan is 1600 years
-- can be a staple crop; protein, oil, 3 times oil of soybeans; protein = animal feed = same as soy
shell is 50% of yearly yield, burns hotter than coal
branches , coppice, wood pruning yearly

Chestnut tree --
-- one of americas prolific original species
-- lifespan is 4000 at least -- produces nuts every year
-- seed turns bitter as soon as it sprouts, critters won't eat
-- nuts will rot if left on the ground
-- qualifies as a staple crop; high carb, low oil, low protein
-- not a true nut; no allergic qualities; corn that grows on trees;
doesn't have a hard shell, but rather a leathery shell you peel off
-- zone 5-6, use the chinese chestnut
design.JPG
[Thumbnail for design.JPG]
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 855
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I am not a shepherd. Mostly what I have seen is 5 sheep = 1 cow, but different. A local extension agent might be able to talk about your local animal unit carrying capacity. Lots of herders talk about animals following each other in rotation to improve utilization of paddocks.
 
Peter Hartman
Posts: 171
Location: springfield, MO
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Linda Sefcik wrote:(see drawing below)

Ha -- this was fun
I'm new to permaculture, but I liked a challenge. Here's my two cents.

The terraces weave at a slow slope, slowly downward, alternating directions
to slow rainfall but not to catch all of it
Hazel nut and chestnut are good animal food; hazel bushes at all open fenced areas
the hazel branches can be woven to each other into a deer fence,
or coppiced, using the sticks to attach to your fence at intervals to add height
half of the hazel would be on the other side of the fence for their winter food
The rose arbor over the driveway entrace would discourage jumping over your gate
The thorned berries would discourage deer on the other fence, yet give half for food
The grape arbor would shade an outdoor patio/work area (leaves and fruit for food)
The monk fruit would be a shade for a porch swing (best sweetener instead of sugar)
The mimosa and fruit trees would catch the southern breeze to your house for fragrance
Pecans are easily edible nuts to store for your own winter nutrition
Cherries -- juiced then dried
Sugar cane / bamboo / onions / willows in a wet area
Pine trees for fuel and other purposes (no evergreens)
Cottonwood for late afternoon shade
Other fruit trees provide shade for your animals

As for raccoons and other foraging animals -- maybe a big dog ??
Well, it was a good exercise for me, and was fun.
Good luck with your new farm.

This is from some notes I made:

Hazel nut bushes/trees
-- one of america's original species everywhere
-- lifespan is 1600 years
-- can be a staple crop; protein, oil, 3 times oil of soybeans; protein = animal feed = same as soy
shell is 50% of yearly yield, burns hotter than coal
branches , coppice, wood pruning yearly

Chestnut tree --
-- one of americas prolific original species
-- lifespan is 4000 at least -- produces nuts every year
-- seed turns bitter as soon as it sprouts, critters won't eat
-- nuts will rot if left on the ground
-- qualifies as a staple crop; high carb, low oil, low protein
-- not a true nut; no allergic qualities; corn that grows on trees;
doesn't have a hard shell, but rather a leathery shell you peel off
-- zone 5-6, use the chinese chestnut



Thanks for the layout Linda, There are a few in there that will not work though, Olive is a no go in this area. We just get to cold.

I am also hesitant to put a pond at the bottom since that is the most fertile place on the property. I love the sunflower idea. Those would be great on the west side of the house to block the hot summer sun and then remove the biomass in the fall to soak up what little sun there is in the winter. I wonder if sunchokes would work as well. The pine trees on the south west corner will limit winter sun so those will have to go. I have them on the east and downhill side to help block a neighborhood to the east. Aloe is also a pot only plant in this area. I think I will keep the watermelon in the garden, deer and sheep would eat it before I got to and grass would make it very unmanageable.
 
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